Old Wardour Castle

ld Wardour Castle was built at the end of the fourteenth century by John Lovel. The land had been owned by the St Martin family, but when Sir Lawrence de St Martin died in 1385 it was handed over to Lord Lovel for reasons unknown. Using the master mason William of Wynford, Lovel built the oddly shaped castle in 1393. The main section of the castle is hexagonal with a hexagonal inner court and a central well. The front section of the castle is rectangular that intersects the main hexagon and contains the Great Hall and large windows. The back half of the castle was destroyed in 1644 during the English Civil War, when explosions were set off underneath. The castle now belongs to English Heritage.

Old Wardour Castle Key Facts
CountyWiltshire (6 castles)
DirectionsA few miles east of Shaftsbury, Can either be reached from the A350 or the A30 and is signposted from both of these major roads.
CategoriesLater Stone Keep
Built in an age when castles were a statement of wealth rather than just for defence.
OwnershipBaronial castle
RemainsNot complete but much survives
Access to siteOnly open at certain times
TimeRef Rating
TimeRef Comments
Possibly my favourite castle. Check out the geometric design and the grotto. Was the architect trying to leave a message?

Some strange facts about Old Wardour Castle

There appear to be some strange connections between the fourteenth century Old Wardour Castle and ancient stone circle Stonehenge. The following series of pages describe these possible connections. They could all just be coincidences or there could be a good reason for them. You can decide.

Old Wardour Castle



The construction of Old Wardour Castle began in 1393 during the reign of Richard II. It was built for John, the fifth Lord Lovell, a patron of the arts. The architect was probably William of Wynford a Master Mason who worked at Winchester Cathedral. Design based on geometry (the hexagon and square).


Photo copyright: Geoff Bath


An arrangement of standing stones and earthworks constructed in several stages culminating in the Sarsen Circle between 2000 BC and 1800 BC. Its true purpose is unknown but many theories have been put forward. The stones are aligned to the summer solstice.



The First Connection - Location

The first connection I discovered that links Old Wardour Castle and Stonehenge are their locations.

As part of the investigation into alignments of ancient sites Norman Lockyer and Alfred Watkins noted that Stonehenge is part of a line of ancient monuments stretching from the Charlton Clumps to the Clearbury Ring and beyond. This alignment also includes the ancient fort of Old Sarum and the Medieval Salisbury Cathedral. Commonly referred to as leys or ley lines, these lines connecting hill forts and ancient sites can be found all over the country. If they were created by ancient people their origin and purpose is not known.

Another line of hill forts stretches from the Sidbury Camp down to the Castle Ditches. It was when I extended this line to the south-west I found that it crossed the site of Old Wardour Castle. The distance between Stonehenge and Old Wardour Castle is approximately 15 miles as the crow flies.

The diagram below shows these lines.


It was obvious that Old Wardour Castle required further investigation.

Find out more about the details of these mysterious links.

1393   Construction of Wardour Castle
 The work on Wardour Castle (now Old Wardour Castle) was begun in this year. The architect in charge may have been William Wynford who was responsible for the changes made to Winchester Cathedral around about the same time. The castle is very unusual in that is hexagonal and aligned to the north-east. 
Early Modern Period (1500-1800)
1643 May  Destruction of (Old) Wardour Castle
 (Old) Wardour Castle was besieged by Sir Edward Hungerford and Edmund Ludlow for the Parliamentarians searching for Royalists. Lady Blanche Arundel within the castle lasted a week before surrendering. When Lord Arundell returned and found the castle in Parliamentarian control he laid siege to his own castle and had a mine detonated underneath it destroying the complete rear section of the building. 

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